There are many myths associated with the awakening of kundalini energy. Some people expect to receive extraordinary powers, heal all illnesses, or live eternally if they are able to stimulate the full arising of this energy. They may also think they can fly, walk through walls, and communicate usefully with other dimensions. But in meeting with 2000 people over the years who have awakened kundalini I have never seen these kinds of conclusions. In a small number of people there may be the emerging of psychic or healing capacities, but I have met psychics and healers with no known memory of a kundalini awakening, so kundalini is not essential to these powers. I believe that certain capacities of the brain or energy field are activated as the energy moves through them that awaken these abilities. Some people will feel a connection to their lineage, or teachers who offer helpful guidance at times, who appear other-dimensional. A few may see visions or struggle temporarily with an apparent entity, but this is rare and often related to trauma in their histories or to practicing occult arts. Those who are reported to fly have learned extreme bouncing techniques that make the body temporarily weightless in obscure yoga systems (I saw such yogis in a video once and it did not seem a very valuable talent for everyday life!) Most who discover these periods of having new "powers" find they fade away over time. For a few they become a new expression in their lives.
A more realistic vision of this energy is to consider the rumors as metaphor. Kundalini initiates a healing within by clearing away the debris of false perspectives, negative conditioning, and self-images that are illusionary. It opens the psyche to healing itself of old wounds and relieves the body of the stressors of contraction. It makes it possible to remember your true and unconditioned nature, the essence of which does live eternally. It annihilates the mind's preoccupation with fantasy and irrelevance. The extraordinary gift of spiritual awakening is the return to a natural life, one that is embodied with openness and peace, and the ability to respond to what arises without the angst and drama created by the conditioned mind. One can become more awestuck by the beauty of simple things, more compassionate without the entanglement of suffering, and more relaxed about life and death. This may improve creativity, authenticity, health and longivity. This is the freedom we call happiness or peace.
Kundalini arises in response both to energetic shifts in the body and to a deep longing of the spirit or consciousness to know Truth or God or simply to end personal suffering. It cannot be forced or passed on by someone else, except in rare cases where the individual is very ripe for awakening. But energy processes, yoga, Qigong, meditation, being with another who has awakened energy, and a sincere desire to open the heart all can play a part in awakening by making us grace-prone (as Adyashanti has labeled the readiness for awakening). Kundalini is said by yogis to be curled energy at the base of the spine holding our pranic energy flows in stasis, and when it unwinds itself through the body it triggers many changes in both the sensations and the consciousness, leading one gradually into a transformation of perspective and functioning in the world. The writer Stu Sovatsky, who also worked with kundalini for many years, compares this to a second puberty. Like the first, where we begin and where we end is unpredictable, and the process can be challenging.
If you long for spiritual realization the awakening of kundalini is useful and probably unavoidable, whether it is a gentle or an intense and overwheming process. To the extent you can relax and be present with whatever it offers it will move forward into its natural conclusion.
If you need to know more you might enjoy my books The Kundalini Guide and The Awakening Guide (av. at www.amazon.com) where I have mapped the territory as best I can and intend to provide a vision and support for the changes sure to come. My latest book “When Spirit Leaps: Navigating the Process of Spiritual Awakening” also provides concrete guidance for people in a transformational process and for therapists and teachers who support them.